IMPORTANT NEWS: National Electric Vehicle Sweden has agreed to buy the assets of Saab Automobile and the sale is expected to be finalized during the summer.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Guarded optimism

The past days there haven't been many media reports with news concerning the sale of Saab to Chinese companies Youngman and Pang Da. Something I take as a good sign. No news hopefully means that everything is progressing and the needed approvals are being sought.

Last week we could read that General Motors isn't immediately approving the transfer of ownership of Saab from Dutch Swedish Automobile to Chinese owners. And that is not very surprising. This is business, and in business there is always room for negotiations.

"It doesn't make sense for us to support any change that might adversely affect us. We use global architectures and those global architectures are used in a number of products we make at SGM," GM president and managing director in China, Kevin Wale, told Reuters.

But what is GM afraid of? GM is huge in China and in the near future, using GM technology, Saab has little chance of challenging GM. I would think that GM has more to lose by being a bully than by giving its approval.

Mark Phelan from the Detroit Free Press has a guarded optimism on the future of Saab. He has written a nice article which is worth two minutes of your time.

It's easy to see why Saab appeals to Youngman and Pang Da. Combining the brand's Swedish style, safety and technology with Chinese production and costs could make them leaders in the world's largest and fastest-growing car market.

Others, who also hopefully are optimistic, are the suppliers of Saab. Tomorrow Saab's chief of purchases, Kjell-Åke Eriksson, will be at the auto supplier convention at Elmia in Jönköping. There he will meet suppliers and answer their questions about payment of due debt and the future. And the suppliers definitely want Saab to survive:

"It is very important for the whole industry that we have two healthy manufacturers of passenger vehicles," said Fredrik Sidahl, head of the suppliers association, to Swedish radio.